Hiking in New York is always a special time to explore all of our natural wonders. From the stunning viewpoints of Sam’s Point, the highest point of the Shawangunk Ridge, to a quiet nature trail in Harriman State Park, there are so many options for enjoying the great outdoors in New York. Let’s get inspired by taking a look at some of the best hikes in New York.
Best Hikes in New York
New York may be known for the Big Apple, but once you get out of the city it is a whole new world out there. Let’s lace up our boots and hit the trails to find some amazing hiking trails and places to explore all around New York.
1. Bear Mountain Loop Trail
Bear Mountain State Park, Route 9W North, Bear Mountain, NY 10911, USA
Location: Bear Mountain, NY Mileage: 3.8-mile loop trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: There is a $10.00 per vehicle entry fee year-round on the weekends and from June 22 through September 2 on weekdays. As of July 2023, the trail is closed due to storm damage. Keep an eye on the Bear Mountain State Park website for up-to-date information on the closure.
One of the highlights of this fantastic
3.8-mile loop trail
is the Perkins Memorial Tower near Hessian Lake. You can climb the tower for incredible views of the Hudson River valley. Another fun feature of this popular hike is the many stone steps - over 1000 of them! For that reason, this can be a pretty strenuous hike if your stair-climbing legs could use a tune-up.
2. Cascade Mountain and Porter Mountain via Cascade Mountain Trail
Cascade Mountain Trailhead, Cascade Mountain Foot Trail, Lake Placid, NY 12946, USA
Location: Keene, NY Mileage: 5.6-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Hard FYI: This is one of the most popular and easiest summit hikes of the 46ers (there are 46 High Peaks of the Adirondack Mountains) so make sure you get here early to get a parking spot. Roads leading to the trailhead are subject to seasonal closures, so make sure you check road conditions before making the drive.
Tackling Cascade and Porter Mountain should be on any outdoor lover's bucket list. Taking the
Cascade Mountain Trail
you can enjoy some of the best views of the Adirondack Mountains. Cascade Mountain especially has incredible 360-degree views of the High Peaks Region, and it's known as one of the best hikes in New York when it comes to the views. Because of the rocky scramble toward the top and the rich dirt forest sections, the weather will play a factor in your hiking conditions - expect slippery muddy conditions after or during rain.
3. Cornish Estate Trail
Hudson Highlands State Park, 3260 NY-9D, Cold Spring, NY 10516, USA
Location: Cold Spring, NY Mileage: 1.8-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: While this is an easy hike, much of it over an old concrete driveway, it isn't very wheelchair accessible. It can also be a bit rough and bumpy for strollers. Dogs are welcome as long as they are on a leash.
After our challenging hike up the Adirondacks, we could use a nice casual hike. The
Cornish Estate Trail
is a delightful short trail with some very interesting ruins to explore. This hike in the Hudson Highlands State Park leads to the ruins of the old Stern-Cornish Estate. The majority of this historic mansion built in the 1910s was destroyed in a fire in 1958. You can still explore the grounds and see remains of a swimming pool, laundry facility, greenhouse, and pump house.
Best Short & Easy Hikes in New York
A hiking trip in New York doesn’t have to be a grueling through-hike on the Appalachian Trail. It could simply be a stroll on a busy sidewalk in New York City. The most important thing is that we get outside and enjoy putting one step in front of another until we discover something new. Here are some quick and easy hikes around New York.
4. Roaring Brook Falls (Lower Falls)
Roaring Brook Falls, Roaring Brook Falls Trail, Keene Valley, NY 12943, USA
Location: Keene Valley, NY Mileage: 0.3-mile out-and-back trail (1.6 miles if you continue to Upper Falls) Difficulty: Easy FYI: The first 0.3 miles to the lower falls is an easy hike. If you continue on to the upper falls the terrain gets a bit rougher and steeper, but still manageable for young kids.
Upstate New York sure has some wonderful places to explore. This nature walk through the beautiful Giant Mountain Wilderness and its tall canopy of green leafy trees is simply magical as the early morning light filters through the treetops. If you are short on time but want a fun hike with the family this
will delight you with two waterfalls and some beautiful mountain views.
5. Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road Loop
Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road trailhead, 5281 US-44 #55, Kerhonkson, NY 12446, USA
Location: Kerhonkson, NY Mileage: 1.9-mile loop trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: This is an excellent trail to bring the dog for a walk as long as they are on a leash. A parking fee is collected via a handy-dandy parking fee machine that takes cash or credit cards. Or, get the Empire Pass which covers all New York state parks. The trail is considered wheelchair accessible, however, some sections do have a steeper grade.
Waterfalls, bridges, stone-lined pathways, stunning lakes, and mountain streams - what more could you ask of a
short and sweet hiking trail
in NY? This is a fantastic hike and one the whole family can enjoy. If you are looking for a fun stroll around the beautiful Lake Minnewaska this is one of the best places to hike in New York. There are plenty of offshoots for exploring and you can bring a lunch to enjoy a picnic by the visitor's center.
6. Taughannock Falls via Gorge Trail
Taughannock Falls State Park, 1740 Taughannock Blvd, Trumansburg, NY 14886, USA
Location: Jacksonville, NY Mileage: 1.8-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Since this is the easiest trail to Taughannock Falls it can get quite busy. While it is tempting to jump in the pools below Lower Falls, it is prohibited. The trail is hard-packed dirt and gravel so while it is wheelchair and stroller accessible it would help to have all-terrain tires.
If you enjoy incredible waterfalls this is one of the best hiking trails in New York. The 215-foot
is absolutely stunning with its rush of water off the high cliff face as it plunges into a pool of water surrounded by lush green hills and rock-strewn flowing streams.
Hardest Hikes in New York
Whether you tackle these hikes in one solid day trip or plan a weekend backpacking excursion, these long and difficult hikes will challenge you not only physically but spiritually as well.
7. Great Range Traverse
Great Range, Keene, NY 12943, USA
Location: Keene Valley, NY Mileage: 19.5-mile point-to-point trail Difficulty: Hard - 8,917 feet elevation gain FYI: From May 1 to October 31 The Adirondack Mountain Reserve requires reservations for its 70 parking spots located at the trailhead. Walk-in visitors also need a reservation. Reservations can be made at HikeAMR.org.
There is hiking in New York and then there is HIKING. This trail might leave you winded, bruised, and cursing at the weather, but the feeling when you accomplish it is incredible. That rush is only matched by the amazing views and interesting wonders of terrain, and nature which is really the reason we love being outdoors so very much. You'll
tackle some incredible High Peaks
including Upper and Lower Wolfjaw, the Gothics, Saddleback, Mount Haystack, and Mount Marcy. If you are up for a challenge, this is one of the best hikes in New York for you. It will treat you rough but love you well.
8. Wright, Algonquin, Colden Loop
Wright, Algonquin, Colden Loop, Lake Placid, NY, USA
Location: Lake Placid, NY Mileage: 14.1-mile loop trail Difficulty: Hard - 5,101 feet elevation gain FYI: Keep an eye out for seasonal road closures, and bring your bear spray! Campers and overnight backpackers are advised to use bear-resistant canisters. Plan to start early because the parking lot will fill up.
High Peaks Wilderness hike
that will leave your heart vibrating with an appreciation for the beauty of the largest forest preserve in New York. Yes, the rock scrambles will be tough, the ladders will have you thanking the gods, and the High Peaks will leave you breathless - all-in-all this section of the Adirondacks is gorgeous and grueling. But you'll love every minute of it (after the hike is over especially.) This is one of the best hikes in New York for folks who want to challenge themselves!
9. Mount Skylight Trail
Mount Skylight Trail, Keene, NY 12943, USA
Location: Lake Placid, NY Mileage: 19.3-mile point-to-point trail Difficulty: Hard - 7,585 feet elevation gain FYI: Parking before 1 p.m. is $15 to support trail maintenance. Members of the Adirondack Mountain Club get a discount on parking fees. Bear can and micro spikes rentals are available at the High Peaks Information Center.
Another boring hike if you don't like fresh air, stunning views, birdwatching, wildflowers, wildlife around every corner, rushing waterfalls, glorious sunsets, and cool mountain streams. If you DO love those things, well this is a must-add hiking trail for your bucket list. Sure it's hard and will test your resolve, but it makes our skin tingle with excitement when we think about tackling this trail with the views of the Hudson Valley at the top of
Best Waterfront Hikes in New York
Okay NYC hikers let’s get out in the wilds of Upstate New York to discover stunning waterfalls, babbling brooks, rushing rivers, and cool crystal clear lakes. These waterfront hikes are both inspiring and beautiful.
10. Keuka Lake Outlet Trail
Keuka Lake Outlet Trail, Penn Yan, NY 14527, USA
Location: Dresden, NY Mileage: 13.5-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: The terrain is dirt, gravel, and grass so it is mostly stroller and wheelchair-friendly if you have off-road tires. Dogs are most definitely welcome and may even be off-leash in some areas. Be sure to pack a picnic lunch and stop for a snack at the far end of the trail near the water.
Whether you hit the trail with your mountain bike or break out the hiking poles, this trail is a fantastic way to explore the Finger Lakes region of New York. While hiking the
Keuka Lake Outlet Trail
you'll pass over several bridges, enjoy three waterfalls, feel the thrill of the rapids, and even relax by a turtle pond.
11. Gertrude's Nose and Millbrook Mountain Loop
Gertrude's Nose / Minnewaska Trail, 5281 Route 44-55, Kerhonkson, NY 12446, USA
Location: Kerhonkson, NY Mileage: 6.7-mile loop trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: If you are doing the full loop, start clockwise to get through the tougher parts of the climb first then enjoy an easy back half. If you just want to hike to Gertrude's Nose take the trail counter-clockwise and return the way you came for the easiest hike. A parking fee or Empire Pass is needed for entry.
Enjoy incredible views of the Minnewaska State Park Preserve when you reach the towering rock ledges of Gertrude's Nose. Along the way the invigorating scent of pine trees will accompany you passed mountain streams, expansive lakes, and even an ice cave. This
is moderately difficult, mostly along the clockwise route to The Nose. But any struggles you encounter over rock scramble all faded away when you look out over the valley below.
12. Marcy Dam Trail
Marcy Dam, Keene Valley, NY 12943, USA
Location: Lake Placid, NY Mileage: 4.3-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: This is also a fantastic winter trail for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. But keep an eye out for seasonal road closures in the winter. There is a fee to park easily taken care of through fee machines that take cash or credit.
Much of the trail is an easy walk through the woods as it is partially on the old access road to Marcy Dam. In other areas expect to find plenty of roots, rocks, and wooden bridges to travel over. The
Marcy Dam area
itself is beautiful with views of Marcy Brook, Marcy Dam Pond, and Mount Marcy in the background. The original wooden dam was built in the 1930s and was rebuilt in the 1970s. The only way to reach the dam is by hiking - which is good for us since we are always on the lookout for fun hiking trails.
Best Winter Hikes in New York
Sure, New York winters are a bit on the wild side. But when the sun comes out and the snow crystals twinkle our beautiful state is simply magical. Let’s check out a few places where we can enjoy a winter hike, a snowshoe clomp through the woods, or a nice smooth trail for cross-country skiing.
13. Mount Esther Trail
Esther Mountain, Wilmington, NY 12997, USA
Location: Wilmington, NY Mileage: 3.5-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Hard FYI: Start your journey from Mt. Whiteface Memorial Highway and be ready for some rough varied terrain and unmarked trails as it is an unmaintained trail.
As one of the 46ers,
may be on your bucket list already, but some might say it is best skipped. That's pretty much due to the fact that it isn't a well-maintained trail. That being said it is pretty easy to follow. Prepare for some epic bushwhacking though because the trail up to Mount Esther is pretty rough in spots. In the wintertime, it makes for a great snowshoeing or cross-country ski trail where you can carve your own path through the woods. As you climb you'll enjoy views of Mount Whiteface to the south.
14. Seal Haulout Trail
Seal Haulout Trail, Montauk, NY, USA
Location: Montauk, NY Mileage: 1.6-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Make sure you bring binoculars for a better chance of spotting seals resting on the far-out rocks. While typically there is a parking fee to enter Montauk Point State Park, during the winter months (After November 12) the fee is waived.
This area of
Montauk Point State Park
is well-known for its seal population. You may spot up to five different species of seals once you arrive at the beach. Migration season is from November to May so a winter walk through the woods to this seal hangout is a fun way to enjoy a mild day during an otherwise cold New York winter.
15. Capital Hills Golf Course
Capital Hills at Albany, 65 O'Neil Rd, Albany, NY 12208, USA
Location: Albany, NY Mileage: 4.4-mile loop trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: In the winter this is basically an off-leash dog park. Which is a plus or a minus depending on how you feel about dogs. Make sure you do the courteous thing and pick up after your dogs. There are paved trails throughout the course that make this an easy trek before too much snow has fallen. Typically the trails are open to walkers from November through April, but depending on the weather golf season may last longer than expected.
As the New York winter sets in and we have to put away our golf clubs snowshoes and cross-country skies come out. What better place to enjoy those winter activities than at a wide-open golf course? This trail along the
golf cart path
is also a wonderful place to let your dogs run free and enjoy a winter walk with you. At 4.4 miles it makes for a nice hour and a half walk.
Best Hikes near Albany
Even if we live in the city we can enjoy some great places to hike or take a walk. Here are a few places to get outside and enjoy nature near our lovely capital city.
16. Mohawk-Hudson Canalway Trail
Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trl, Rotterdam Junction, NY, USA
Location: Albany, NY Mileage: 37.2-mile point-to-point trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: The trail is mostly a gentle grade but there are a few hills that make things interesting if you are biking. This is actually a section of the 97-mile Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail that used to be part of the old Erie Canal railroad.
If you are looking for a nice
walking trail along the Mohawk River
this paved trail in Albany is the perfect choice. Great for walking, running, skating, and biking, it's no wonder many locals consider this one of the best hikes in New York. With a diversity of scenery to enjoy along the way, you'll probably spot plenty of birds, wildlife, and even wildflowers in the warmer months. The trail is open year-round so you can enjoy a winter walk as well.
17. Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail
Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail, Rail Trail, 722 S Pearl St, Albany, NY 12202, USA
Location: Albany, NY Mileage: 18-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: About one mile in you might be able to spot a waterfall off of the trail a ways. There are also several cafes where you can stop for a pick-me-up during your walk.
This is another fantastic
that is open year-round for all your favorite winter, summer, spring, and fall outings. The old Delaware & Hudson (D&H) Railroad used to run between Voorheesville and the Port of Albany near Kenwood, now we can all enjoy the paved trail whenever we need a nice walk or bike ride.
18. Great Dune Purple Trail
Albany Pine Bush Preserve, 195 New Karner Rd Suite 1, Albany, NY 12205, USA
Location: Albany, NY Mileage: 5.7-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Expect to see plenty of wildlife and critters, from squirrels and bunnies to deer and maybe even a bear or two. This is a wonderful area for bird watching as well.
The Albany Pine Bush Preserve is a wonderfully unique area in Albany, NY called the pine barrens. There are only 20 other pine barrens in the world like the one we have here in Albany. This unique forest is home to many hiking trails and places to explore. Each one is filled with wildlife, picturesque ponds, gently flowing streams, and of course, beautiful forests. The
Great Dune Purple Trail
runs between Madison Avenue and DiCaprio Park.
There are so many wonderful areas to explore in New York, we have nearly scratched the surface of the best hikes in New York. From the deep gorge and giant ledges of
Letchworth State Park known as the “grand canyon of the East” to the iconic Niagara Falls. When choosing the best hikes in New York you really can’t go wrong with any part of our beautiful state.
We hope you have been inspired to get outside and enjoy every panoramic view you can track down from Rainbow Falls to Devil’s Hole State Park overlooking the Niagara River Gorge. Before you head out to enjoy all of these hiking trails in NY, give
AllTrails Plus a try, and be sure to check out our ultimate guide to all the must-have hiking gear.
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More to Explore
More places to hike in New York
Does New York have good hiking trails?
New York has many miles of trails to explore from the iconic Appalachian Trail and Catskill Mountains to smaller city parks and walking trails around Saranac Lake, for example. Here are some good hiking trails and areas to explore in New York:
What are the best months to hike in New York?
Hiking in New York is possible all year long if you don't mind braving the cold and snow. The best months to hike in New York for most of us are the warmer months from April through October. Each person has their favorite month to hike, whether it is a cool fall hike when the leaves are at peak color around Lake George, a spring hike when the wildflowers bloom in Ithaca at the
Cornell Botanic Gardens, or a hike to Buttermilk Falls.
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